Less than a millimetre and the local air ambulance made the difference between life and death for him when he cut his throat with an angle grinder while doing DIY at his home in Northampton.
The dad of four was airlifted to hospital for emergency surgery by Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance and within 22 minutes was receiving the medical care he urgently needed.
“The saw blade actually grazed my main artery and I was bleeding heavily. If the air ambulance hadn’t been there I would probably have died.
“When I got into the resuscitation unit at University Hospital Coventry I was told that the theatre was being prepped and it wouldn’t be long before they could operate. All of a sudden I realised that I couldn’t breathe and as I choked, blood filled my oxygen mask and my lungs were also filling up with blood.
“All I could see were ten or so experienced medical staff looking very worried as they realised what was happening. They grabbed the trolley and rushed me straight to the operating theatre.
“If I had been transferred in a land ambulance and this happened I might not have survived. My friends call me miracle man because I did,” he said.
Simon was using a diamond tipped angle grinder to cut away bricks to make a window aperture bigger. As he worked his way up from the window sill, the blade got wedged in the brick, spun out of Simon’s hand and caught his face, neck, arm and chest as it fell onto the floor.
His injuries included cuts to ligaments and muscles in his neck and to his windpipe.
“I put my hand to my throat immediately. I thought I’d bleed to death. Luckily my brother was in the back garden and he raised the alarm. I managed to walk downstairs to open the door and let him in.
“I just sat on the stairs with my hand on my throat holding it together thinking maybe I will make it because if I had cut my main artery I wouldn’t have got down the stairs. I knew I had cut through my wind pipe because as I was breathing I could feel it on my hand.”
Simon’s accident happened on Good Friday in 2013. He has come forward now to tell his story on the anniversary of the accident to help raise awareness and funds for his local air ambulance.
He underwent seven hours of surgery to reconstruct his windpipe and staple and stitch the deep cuts he had suffered.
He was put into an induced coma for five days and miraculously was discharged from hospital a week after the accident happened. After two weeks rest he went back to work.
Simon, aged 50, of Grange Park, Northampton, said: “Telling people about how the air ambulance flew me to hospital made me realise what an important part it played in saving my life.
“If it hadn’t taken me to hospital so quickly and I was still in the back of a land ambulance when my lungs started to fill with blood then I hate to think what would have happened.”
Shocked to discover that the air ambulance receives no government funding and operates because of public donations, Simon decided to raise money for the charity.
Amazingly just 13 weeks after his horrific accident, he took part in a triathlon and raised £2,500.
“We don’t realise how easily and quickly things can go wrong and if services like the air ambulance didn’t exist I wouldn’t be here to tell my story,” he said.